5 Tips for Meeting Your Significant Other’s Parents

This last week, I had the privilege of meeting my girlfriend’s mom. And it was ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING. Yes, I’ve dated women before, and I’ve met parents before and been dubbed great parent material. Before, though, I’ve always met parents in high school relationships, i.e., I’ve met parents when I’m still in the beginning stages of my relationship with their daughter. It’s casual! It’s not stressful! This encounter, was the first time I really understood the daunting phrase, “meet the parents.” Here are five tips I’ve compiled from the experience, so you can have an easy time meeting your significant other’s (SO’s) parents.

1. Talk to your SO before the meeting.

Ask your significant other, how do we want the encounter to go? If you’re getting a meal together, this might be less stressful because it’s a shorter period together. If you’re spending an entire day together, or you’re going home for a holiday with your significant other, this might take more mental preparation on your part and support from your partner. Ask them, how much have you talked to your parents about me? Am I going into this as a relative stranger to them, or do they know a lot about who I am and what I do with my life? If they’re less familiar with your life, this might be a good time to talk to them about your areas of study, things you like to do, your hometown, and your background. If your significant other has talked about you a lot, you may be able to transition into different subjects more quickly. Talking with my girlfriend prior to meeting her mom was so helpful because we were able to talk about all this beforehand.

2. Pick a location to meet where everyone will be comfortable.

In my case, my girlfriend invited me over to her apartment and we all cooked together and had a meal. Get creative with your location picking! You can get a meal, go to a farmer’s market, or explore the city that you’re in. Picking a neutral location to meet can be helpful because that means nobody is hosting, which often makes it more comfortable for everyone. If you’re going to stay over at your SO’s house for a holiday, it might be good to meet the family beforehand or even sit in on a FaceTime call. This way the first time you meet them isn’t the week long experience.

3. Look nice, but also look like you.

It took me forever to pick out an outfit, and I decided on some jeans and a cute button-down shirt. I wanted to look nice, but I opted against putting on makeup, because I wanted to meet her mom looking like myself. Whatever makes you feel confident, wear it! Meeting the parents is definitely the time to look nice, but I really want to emphasize that if you stay true to yourself, you’ll be more comfortable and authentic all around.

4. Show interest in their parents’ lives too!

Sometimes when you meet the parents, it can turn into a night where they grill you about your background, academic interests, and extracurricular activities, and suddenly it can begin to feel like an interview. Remember that this is a good time for you to get to know them too! Show interest in learning about what they do for a living, where they’ve lived, how they liked raising your SO, and things like that. I’ve found that many parents love talking about what their child was like when he or she was little, and you can get TONS of embarrassing stories that way.

5. Be yourself.

Above all, be yourself. If your significant other is dating you, then chances are they like you and so their parents will want to like you too. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. Relax and be yourself, and everything will go great.

Best of luck!